Operation: Poetry Slam!

by Victor Shill

Length of Program

50-90 minutes

Program Description

Invite local poets to the library to discuss writing poetry, to read from their works, and to moderate a poetry slam. Teens may read poems by published poets and/or write and read their own poems. If possible, host several poetry events during the summer.


Arrange the meeting area in an informal, coffeehouse style and provide coffee, soft drinks, and snacks for the Slam. Select various poetry anthologies from which teens may read. Encourage teens to bring their own poetry.


Display poems and pictures of poets.

Books to Booktalk

  • Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets’ Café edited by Miguel Algarin.
  • The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur.
  • You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys edited by Betsy Franco.

Books to Display

  • Angst!: Teen Verses From the Edge edited by Karen Tom and Kiki.
  • How to Write Poetry by Paul B. Janeczko.
  • Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry edited by Gary Mex Glazner.
  • Slam edited by Cecily Von Ziegesar.
  • A Teen Writer’s Dream, Poetically Correct edited by Kristine Wright.


Encourage teens to contribute original poetry for publication in anthologies and/or magazines. Invite teens to contribute original poetry. Compile the poems into a notebook for display in the teen area at the library. Post them on the library’s web site.

Invite the teens to select children’s poems from various publications. Let them present a children’s poetry festival for younger children at the library and/or community center.

Encourage teens to volunteer to plan and produce poetry reading events at local schools during the coming school term.



Teen Ink.



Audio Recordings

  • The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets by Bill D. Moyers.
  • The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur.


  • Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers. (120 minutes)
  • Poetry in Motion. (90 minutes)
  • Slamnation. (92 minutes)

Web Sites

Poetic License Online Poetry Journal

Austin Poetry Slam

Poetry Slam Incorporated


Texas Reading Club 2003 Programming Manual / Mission Possible Spy Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011